Clinical Topics & News

Secondary Cancers After Prostate Cancer: What’s the Risk?

Depending on the method or treatment, researchers predict the risk of patients developing secondary primary cancers after a prostate cancer diagnosis.


Men with prostate cancer (PCa) have a higher risk of secondary primary cancers (SPM) in the thyroid compared with that of men without PCa, say researchers from the National Defense Medical Center in Taipei and China Medical University in Taichung, both in Taiwan. Their study of 30,964 men also found a trend toward higher risk of SPM in the urinary bladder and rectum/anus.

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However, the study, which covered years 2000-2010, also showed a trend toward lower risk of developing overall SPM among PCa survivors, compared with men who did not have PCa. The risks of lung and liver cancer, for instance, were significantly lower. The risk of thyroid cancer was higher in patients diagnosed when aged < 64 years, but the overall number of cases was small, particularly in that group.

When the researchers analyzed the data according to treatment, they found that patients with PCa who had radiation therapy had a higher risk of overall SPM, hematologic malignancies, esophageal cancer, liver cancer, lung cancer, and urinary bladder cancer, compared with those who did not have radiation therapy. The risk of hematologic malignancies and urinary bladder cancer were significantly lower in patients with PCa treated with androgen deprivation therapy than in those who were not.

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Patients who had undergone prostatectomy had a significantly lower risk of overall SPM, hematologic malignancies, liver cancer, and urinary bladder cancer; however, they had a significantly higher risk of thyroid cancer.

The researchers say, given the increases in incidence and life expectancy of patients with PCa, there is growing interest in predicting the risk of SPM. Knowing the risk factors, they note, highlights the need for continued cancer surveillance among PCa survivors.

Fan CY, Huang WY, Lin CS, et al. PLoS One . 2017:12(4):e0175217.
doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0175217.

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